In Japan, manga has many forms and many uses.  Instruction manuals are often done in manga format, and serious non-fiction manga tackle issues such as foreign trade and inflation, but the success of a newly published manga, Introduction to Kim Jong-Il: The Truth About the North Korean Shogun, has taken political observers by surprise.  Written by a Japanese-born Korean, Lee U-Jong, and published five years ago in South Korea -- the book has sold more than 250,000 copies in Japan in spite of the fact that it has been banned in South Korea, which is trying to smooth over relations with the North.


The success of the manga about the reclusive North Korean leader has been attributed to the fact that most Japanese know very little about the Kim Jong-Il, other than the fact that he is attempting to make nuclear weapons.  The 340-page manga biography portrays Kim's troubled relationship with his father, Kim Il-Sung, who founded the North Korean dictatorship.  It also documents the numerous murders and kidnappings perpetrated by Kim Jong-Il, and uses newspaper clippings and photographs to document its case against the ruler of one of the world's poorest countries, who lives the high life while his people starve.